Jul 26, 2008

The Linguist - Steve Kaufmann

I'm not quite sure if you guys know about this guy called Steve Kaufmann. Apparently, he can speak 9 languages fluently, and I think he is learning a few more now. In his blog he gives his thoughts on language learning, which is obviously very relevant to us here in Talk With the World. I wonder if one day we can all be Steve Kaufmanns. Hmm...

I found out about Steve Kaufmann from a cantonese.hk, a personal blog of an Australian man that documents his adventures in learning Cantonese. This website also has some audio files with scripts that are useful for people learning Cantonese.


Hyunwoo Sun said...

Yeah I know him from a different podcast called Lingq :)


You can click on the link to subscribe to the podcast :) I don't know about his other languages but his Japanese is VERY fluent. :D

I didn't know his blog hehe. Thank you Nicholas for posting this!

maxiewawa said...

Talking about language learning always does my head in. Like thinking about thinking. Or writing about writing. You just end up going in circles.

Not to put this guy off, it's obviously working for him, but I feel that it's very artificial, and I get bored much more easily.

I wish he'd write about what he did today, or told us interesting things about all the different languages he's learning... or something funny that he did today (in another lanugage).

Ed said...

My problem is his use of the term "linguist" - he's actually a business-oriented polyglot or language teacher. I don't have a problem with his occupation. However, having two degrees in linguistics, I do have problems with people who call themselves "linguists" when in actuality, they should refer to themselves as "polyglots".

There is a clear difference, and linguistics instructors always have to clarify it: "linguists" study structural/social/pragmatic underpinnings of language as a significant human phenomenon, while "polyglots" study and speak lots of languages.

I think this article featuring (bona fide) linguist Geoff Pullum (whom I've heard a couple times - really funny guy, even though I don't agree with some of his approaches to linguistics in general) sums it up nicely:


Nicholas Cripps said...

I guess people who can speak a lot of languages call themselves linguists because common folk (lol) are more familiar with that term, than they are to the term 'polyglot.' I myself do not agree that Steve call himself linguist, but that what he calls himself so...

I don't agree with everything he says, but I think some of his thoughts are interesting... sometimes I like reading about learning languages, and sometimes I just want to learn it!